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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 12, 2010 12:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

I don't know how many of you have seen this before, but this was a "review" of the Dead's 3/26/73 Baltimore show, written for the Washington Post by a Mr. Tom Zito.
I thought I'd quote some of it here...

"Promoters pegged the average age of the audience at 17 - too young to have heard the Dead in the heydays of the mythical Summer of Love, the Human Be-In, the Trips Festival, and other psychedelic goings-on.
For the young people, the Dead were total enjoyment: everyone on their feet from the opening notes of the concert, swaying to the basic boogie shuffle of the band.
To some veteran Dead watchers, it was hearing a once-great band gone astray in the musical cosmos - one more case of rock music's popularity-breeds-contempt syndrome.
In 1967, the Grateful Dead epitomized the music and manners of the burgeoning so-called youth drug culture. They would arrive late for shows, play through homemade equipment (they still do), and then perform all night long - often for free. Some of their most memorable appearances began at midnight and lasted until dawn.
But in spite of their outrageous concert procedures, it was their music that made them the early champions of the psychedelic culture. They would play songs that often lasted an hour each, with leader Jerry Garcia spinning out intricate soaring guitar solos that invariably mesmerized audiences.
Like much of the drug culture, the Dead, too, went through changes. They ventured into country-tinged music and came up with probably their two finest albums [WD & AB]. After a brief disappearance from the concert scene, the group returned - this time in a much more organized, slicker fashion. Shows started on time and brought in plenty of money, often in excess of $25,000 a night. Like many others, they realized that the counter-culture could be highly profitable.
In fact, it wasn't until last year that the Dead's popularity really took off. Their first album finally became a million-dollar seller, along with several more recent ones. The reason was simple: younger & younger audiences were discovering their music and buying it as if it were brand new.
But the music these days isn't what it once was. Gone is Garcia's graceful fluid style of playing. Gone are the times when two drummers pounded out the band's rhythms. Gone are the concerts that started with acoustic instruments and gradually built into an overwhelming electrical wave. Gone are the magical ways the Dead could make the ambience of a rock concert more like a religious service. Gone is colorful vocalist Pigpen, who died several weeks ago.
Instead, the group now uses a loud, dull piano as its basic instrument. The vocals don't sound as self-assured, and the band as a whole seems more like a contrived aggregate than a flowing ensemble.
To new listeners, the group may personify the ultimate height of rock, but to older ears, the Dead seem to have outlived their usefulness."

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Poster: Judge TOOTMO Date: Oct 12, 2010 2:21pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

The newspaper article says:

"After a brief disappearance from the concert scene, the group returned..."

Obviously, they are not referencing the 75 hiatus but I was unaware of even any short breaks that would qualify as a "disappearance". Any enlightenment out there.

Thanks,
TOOTMO

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Oct 12, 2010 3:20pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

They took September 71 off - does that count?

(Gaelic Park Aug 26 to Northrop Auditorium Oct 19)

Or is the author just an asshole?

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 12, 2010 7:43pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

It's true the Dead did take September '71 off; but I'm pretty sure the author is referring to early '72 - they played only two shows (in San Francisco) between 12/31/71 and 3/21/72.

And I think you can hear the increased slick professionalism he deplores when you compare the fall '71 and fall '72 tours...or for that matter, '70 vs. '71, or '69 vs. 70...
This guy just got left behind by the Dead boat early on, so their changes through the years seem to have come as a shock! (Although they'd also played Baltimore just six months before, a Dick's Picks show...bet he hated that one, too!...)

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 12, 2010 3:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

Yeah, that struck me as odd as well...they sure don't slow down in 71, but are there any month long lapses in 72? Early 73? Some how recall my friends that were going in 73 mentioning a time without tours while Wake was done...? Wouldn't fit this sequence though, right?

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Poster: Judge TOOTMO Date: Oct 13, 2010 9:20am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

Ah, excellent, Mr. Tell. I have been looking for your email for the last 30 minutes---I can't even remember which email I used.

Would you please email me at dot com?

Thanks,
TOOTMO

This post was modified by TOOTMO on 2010-10-13 16:20:54

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 13, 2010 7:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

Em sent; you can delete addy...sorry!

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Oct 12, 2010 1:53pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

Here's the original...

When I first posted this, I wondered whether Zito was intentionally invoking the "Gone are the days..." lyric from He's Gone in this paragraph...

"Gone is Garcia's graceful fluid style of playing. Gone are the times when two drummers pounded out the band's rhythms. Gone are the concerts that started with acoustic instruments and gradually built into an overwhelming electrical wave. Gone are the magical ways the Dead could make the ambience of a rock concert more like a religious service. Gone is colorful vocalist Pigpen, who died several weeks ago."

Though I strongly disagree about his overall conclusion, the article certainly helps put '73 Dead in perspective. They were a dramatically different band than they were just a few years earlier, and some critics were obviously not pleased.

This post was modified by snow_and_rain on 2010-10-12 20:53:07

Attachment: WP_800.jpg

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 12, 2010 8:08pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

"Gone are the days" is from Brown-Eyed Women! And I agree the author was thinking of it...

We can laugh at his low opinion of the laid-back, watered-down honky-tonk '73-era Dead, but the article's just as interesting to me for his very high opinion of the 1970-era Dead. Obviously those long Fillmore East shows were still ringing in his ears years later!
There were actually quite a few early-era fans who got 'left behind' as the Dead moved into the '70s... I've quoted before one guy who as early as '71 thought they'd become a dull snooze without Mickey or Pigpen around! (I think Marty Weinberg felt the same way too...)

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Oct 12, 2010 9:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

Ha! My bad. Duh. Also Crazy Fingers, but not in '73!

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Oct 12, 2010 3:54pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

"Some of their most memorable appearances began at midnight and lasted until dawn."

can someone please link me to a recording of any 6 hour concerts, that are memorable, from the golden era?

"They would play songs that often lasted an hour each"

can someone please link me to one of the many one-hour songs from the golden era?

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Oct 12, 2010 4:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

So maybe the author is just an asshole.

So maybe I should delete the maybe.

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Poster: Arbuthnot Date: Oct 12, 2010 4:11pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

in truth, Rob, i cannot say whether the author is an 'asshole' ... that he is very likely a self-congratulating know-it-all, with less brain matter than that possessed by what can be found caked inside the bathroom drain, i have no doubt; but he's a music 'journalist' so what more need be said??

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Poster: Judge TOOTMO Date: Oct 12, 2010 8:46pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

"that he is very likely a self-congratulating know-it-all, with less brain matter than that possessed by what can be found caked inside the bathroom drain, i have no doubt"

I think that guy's been trollin' on the forum.

TOOTMO

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 13, 2010 7:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

Hmm, I was thinking that just confirmed I wrote it...

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Poster: robthewordsmith Date: Oct 12, 2010 4:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

Arb, I gladly defer to your powers of analysis, which are undoubtedly superior to those of the above-mentioned journo.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 12, 2010 8:36pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

The author's exaggerating a little bit...but not that much.
In 1970, the year he refers to, five-hour shows weren't uncommon, especially if you include the NRPS sets. Several Fillmore East shows started at midnight (or later) and went til dawn. (For instance, 2/13/70.)
They never played hour-long songs (if only!), but you could easily get a 40-minute Lovelight that year. Which may have seemed like it lasted for hours...

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Oct 12, 2010 10:29pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

Tom Zito also reviewed one of the Fillmore East shows from July 1970, a show that apparently did last nearly six hours from start to finish, including the NRPS and breaks. So I think he's speaking from personal experience. I mean, if that's your benchmark show, then 3/26/73 might seem like a letdown by comparison.

This post was modified by snow_and_rain on 2010-10-13 05:29:48

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 12, 2010 10:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

What?! Where's that review? I'd like to see that.

The July '70 Fillmore East shows started at midnight, since the Dead didn't have to bother with a 'first set' or opening bands like they did in February... So they could stay on for hours & hours if they felt like it.
Of course, they didn't play til dawn ALL the time. Really they only had to do it a few times for the reputation to get around: "This is the band that PLAYS TIL DAWN!"

Matt Vernon has a funny comment about the 12/31/78 show: "I was living in Berkeley at the time; I remember getting an espresso on New Year's morning and hearing someone say, 'I think the Dead are STILL playing at Winterland.'"

Then there's Lester Bangs' immortal parody:
"In San Francisco a rock group called the Grateful Dead has been playing an uninterrupted concert for ten days and, even more amazingly, a song entitled 'Turn on Your Lovelamp' for the last four straight days, around the clock."

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 13, 2010 7:33am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Arb, LiA, and myths...

Arb--I tend to agree about the "please show me shows that lasted six hrs, and had songs of one hr each?" aspect. I put it in the category of the "myths". Now, certainly we have the NRPS and DEAD shows of 70, and the Acid Tests, and the 50 min MHr Phil speaks of in 66-67, BUT, in general, with how "well" we know the shows of 68-71, we can conclude that in general, the DEAD played their standard two sets, each of which was less than 90 min. IE, we now have MANY complete shows, and all fit on three 80 min CDs with room to spare, right?

And certainly, from 74 to 82, no such No Cal show exists, as I was at most of them. The one that last six hrs, started with K&D, JGB, Kingfish, then the DEAD. IE, Jun, 75; but again, is a NRPS-esque hybrid show.

So, though it may have happened, it's the exception that proves the rule, though in this case, the myth is the rule acknowledged by one and all.

Would you agree, LiA?

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 13, 2010 9:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Arb, LiA, and myths...

I'd partially agree.
If you look at shows after '74, the Dead shortened their sets considerably. (They were getting old & tired! You caught them too late!)
The really big 4 or 5-hour, 3-set shows come in the summers of '72, '73 and '74, but those were outdoor afternoon shows, which had a different ambience. ('They played til sunset!' is not quite the same as 'They played til dawn!')

So 1970 is the year of the HUGE nighttime shows, and we have proof of at least a couple Fillmore East shows that did last over 5 hours. (There's also 4/26/70, another daytime show which was as long, but we don't have.)

Now of course, there's the discrepancy between 'actual' showtimes and the 3 CDs worth of music we have, which I think is mainly accounted for by the setbreaks. True, a lot of time in those marathon shows was 'dead space', waiting for the band...

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Poster: marty weinberg Date: Oct 13, 2010 12:42pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Arb, LiA, and myths...

How amazing in 2010 to have a passionate 25+ post response!

Well I certainly attended many 1970's shows that seemed like they took all night.

Post Mickey and Mr.Pen the dead were different. How could they not be?

What is also not brought up often is that they had BAD nights in 69/70. The chemicals, stars, vibes, whatever; did not align. Great achievments involve great risk.
As the dead moved forward they simply took fewer risks as they fell into a more comfortable groove.

"Gone" is a bit overstated by the author. Maybe he was "gone" too?

peace,
marty

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Oct 13, 2010 6:34pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Arb, LiA, and myths...

Well well, good to see you here. We don't get many old-timers in these parts... And 1970 tapers are rare as hen's teeth these days! Thanks for your comments.

I agree about them falling into a groove over time (or, as some might put it, a rut), taking less risks...maybe that's professionalism, maybe just getting older & preferring a structure to fall back on...

We do have a fair number of bad performances from 1969 on tape...(and some less-than-blazing 1970 shows, too)...they did get more 'consistent' in the next few years.
Fortunately, unlike showgoers at the time, we can just overlook the misfires & move on to all the great shows on tape! People are still in awe over the 6/24/70 Port Chester show... (And they would be in more awe over those July '70 Fillmore East shows if the tapes sounded better!)

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Oct 13, 2010 6:52pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Arb, LiA, and myths...

Straight from the source! Thanks for sharing. I guess you'd know.

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Poster: midnightcarousel Date: Oct 14, 2010 6:01am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Arb, LiA, and myths...

I agree with you there - 1970 is my personal favorite year for live shows but there are a ton of performances that completely fall flat on their asses. They started to wrap it together in the next few years and became a lot more consistent.

Still, they never topped 6/24/70... thanks for that, by the way :)

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Poster: marty weinberg Date: Oct 14, 2010 2:24pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Arb, LiA, and myths...

November 8, 1970

Sorry about all the commentary, noise
If I had only known the whole world would be listening...

the dew of dews,
imho it defines the time

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Poster: high flow Date: Oct 12, 2010 2:59pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

Thanks. Highly entertaining. He may have been the first of their many detractors. I hope somebody threw him a lifeline....because his leap was premature.

Through to threw.

This post was modified by high flow on 2010-10-12 21:59:27

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Oct 12, 2010 3:00pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

"his leap was premature"

But just a little bit ;)

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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 12, 2010 1:37pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

Oh really? So much anger, so much judgment...can't we post 71 detractors have some peace? Some toleration? Some respect? Can't we have some of the free love for one and all, regardless of race, creed, or era of preference?




[I was sure YOU were going to say "hmmm, Tell was up to no good even then!"]

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Poster: Jim F Date: Oct 14, 2010 1:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

One of the many insights I felt was that this seems to show that the "I was there when they were really cool" thing has been going on a long time in the music scene.


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Poster: William Tell Date: Oct 12, 2010 1:33pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: 1973: The Dead on a downhill slide!

"But the music these days isn't what it once was. Gone is Garcia's graceful fluid style of playing. Gone are the times when two drummers pounded out the band's rhythms. Gone are the concerts that started with acoustic instruments and gradually built into an overwhelming electrical wave. Gone are the magical ways the Dead could make the ambience of a rock concert more like a religious service. Gone is colorful vocalist Pigpen, who died several weeks ago. Instead, the group now uses a loud, dull piano as its basic instrument. The vocals don't sound as self-assured, and the band as a whole seems more like a contrived aggregate than a flowing ensemble. To new listeners, the group may personify the ultimate height of rock, but to older ears, the Dead seem to have outlived their usefulness."

--William Tell, 1972 (I wrote this a full yr before the story was ripped off by "TZ" as quoted in full by LiA). It was for my freshman composition class, in HS. I had no idea it rec'd such wide circulation, much less was stolen for profit!



(thx LiA! Interesting read...and "duh" all, of course, I am "JK!")